Friday, April 10, 2009

A headline to be afraid of

We're all concerned about the case of Sandra Cantu and what it means for other families in Tracy, but the San Francisco Chronicle's proclamation that "Fear grips Tracy as cops search for girl's killer," might be a bit overblown.

Or a lot overblown.

We're not so much scared as angry. Angry that someone would kill a young girl, destroy a family and put a community through so much grief for reasons that — I'm willing to wager — no sane person could truly understand.

Yes, we'll keep an extra close watch on our kids, but Sandra Cantu's apparent kidnapping and murder is the rarest of rare occurences. Tragic? Yes. Wrenching? Yes. Mindbending? Yes. Commonplace? No.

We're shocked, surprised, stunned. But in the throes of all-consuming fear? To say this sad story has our whole "rural" community gripped in fear is to not truly understand it.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

1 comment:

Caren or Danielle said...

Jon ~ I'm not in a position to comment on the state of mind of Tracy residents although I can imagine. I remember being afraid to walk from my car into my apartment when I was a new teacher in southern Calif during the Hillside strangler days. This maniac was at large for many weeks, if I recall.

There's enough real fear afoot without hyperbole. I find that I insulate myself from the "crisis du jour" hype in the media and popular culture. Makes me shove my head deeper in the sand. Kind of like the kid who cried "wolf" so many times that the village ignored him when there was a real wolf crisis.

Not to downplay the horror of Sandra's disappearance and murder either. But does hype and manufactured drama sell more papers? Apparently some folks who write headlines think so.